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PC TCP/IP specs

The Internet Protocols (IP), including Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP), constitute longtime companions of Unix systems in the communications domain. Originally developed for communications over the ARPANET -- now the Internet -- these protocols have become the de facto standards for network data transmission on almost all Unix systems.

TCP/IP does not come naturally to PC systems. You need a "stack" of protocols that interface to the network driver to process IP, TCP, and UDP packets. The stacks take outgoing data from the applications, format them into IP packets, and send them down the wire, and do the reverse for incoming data.

Most PC TCP/IP stacks are available as Terminate-and-Stay-Resident programs (TSRs), Dynamically Linked Libraries (DLLs), or Virtual Device Drivers (VxDs). Each has their own benefits. TSRs use some conventional memory and work in both DOS and Windows environments. DLLs work only in the Windows environment and use only extended memory. (Conventional memory is precious for DOS and Windows applications because of their 640-kilobyte address space limitation.) However, since DLLs are part of a Windows task, network processing can halt if you switch to another task. VxDs work in Windows and use only extended memory; they actually become part of the Windows system, work very fast, and are not dependent on any one program within Windows.

Administrating all those TCP/IP stacks on individual desktops can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many vendors are implementing the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) for remote administration for a central console. With the new standard management protocol, network administrators can organize all the information concerning each PC from a single server source. DHCP is an extension to the Unix BOOTP, so it can span several different networks with DHCP relays. And it also allows for dynamic allocation of addresses, IP parameters, and network licenses.

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